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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Coconut Almond Protein Fudge

16 Nov

So it’s been quite awhile since my last blog post, but it’s been a crazy last couple months!  I changed jobs, traveled nearly 1 month over the summer for work, moved houses, and, oh yeah…….I am getting married in less than a week!  I gotta keep this short because, of course, I still have a million things to do, but I wanted to share one of my healthier recipes that has been getting me through the last couple months and will for sure be making more appearances in the future!  This Coconut Almond Protein Fudge uses avocados to ensure the rich taste without all of the guilt that is in typical fudge.  This fudge is meant to be served frozen because it won’t “set” otherwise, so just whip this up in the food processor and pop it into the freezer for 2-4 hours.  Word to the wise:  Use a hot knife to cut it, and don’t let it sit on the counter too long.  (I don’t have a problem with that in my house!)

 

Coconut Almond Protein Fudge

  • 3 ripe Avocados
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flavored almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 6 scoops (or 3 packages) IsaLean Protein Powder in Dutch Chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup crushed almonds (I lightly roasted them in the oven first for added crunch and depth of flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar.  (I have tried stevia, but it does leave an aftertaste)

 

Directions:

Place the avocado flesh, cocoa powder, chocolate protein powder, agave, and sea salt in the food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the coconut flake and almonds.  Pulse just until combined.  Pour into freezer safe glass dish.  Freeze for 2-4 hours or until set.  To serve, cut with a hot knife.  Keep frozen.

 

 

 
 

“Fried” Green Beans

15 Apr

Last night I decided to do a little experimenting in making one of my favorite appetizers….Fried Green Beans!  I love the idea of eating green beans as a snack, but I feel a little guilty because they are fried.  It leaves me a little conflicted.  Does it count as a vegetable if it is dripping in grease?  My baked version still has the bread-like coating, but they are so much crunchier than their fried counter parts.  Serve them with a little pizza sauce and it’s a sure way to sneak a serving of vegetables in for the day!

 

 

 

 

“Fried” Green Beans

  • 24 green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, Bisquick, and garlic powder.  Whisk with a fork until smooth.  Pour bread crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Dip each bean into the Bisquick mixture, let the excess drip off and then roll in the bread crumbs.  Lay beans onto a sprayed baking sheet and bake for 15 minute or until golden brown.  Serve with pizza sauce.

 

 

 
 

Sweet & Spicy Braised Kale

13 Apr

Kale has become a favorite in my house.  Most of the time it’s served in the form of kale chips for a guilt free late night snack,  but lately I have been adding this incredibly easy and good for you side dish to our menus.  I love the combination of sweet & spicy and the contrast of the tender kale with crunchy almonds.  Occasionally, I have even been lucky enough to find bags of pre-cleaned and torn kale to make this dish even quicker!

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet & Spicy Braised Kale

  • 6 cups fresh kale, washed and torn, tough stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tablespoons garlic, fresh grated
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

 

Directions:

In a large saute pan using high heat, saute coconut oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add white wine, water, vinegar, agave and kale.  Let braise, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is dissolved and kale is desired level of doneness. (about 2-3 minutes)  Season with kosher salt, using more if needed.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds

Serves 4.

 

 
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(Almost)Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars!

09 Mar

It’s been a few years since I posted my black bean brownie recipe, so I thought I would finally get around to testing out another idea I had.  What if I used pinto or white beans to make a delicious base for cookie dough bars?!

I have always been fond of beans.  My father and brother are bean farmers, so it was something that we have always used in our cooking.  More recently, I have become more aware of food allergens because several family members have discovered they are allergic to gluten and a future nephew (and possibly myself) with egg allergies.  The beans in this recipe serve as an alternative to flour without having to use on of those fancy baking mixes.  They also have many health benefits because they are high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, folate, and potassium.  The chia seeds, or flax seed if you prefer, also have many health benefits and are a great substitute for eggs in baked goods.   I have been using them for that off and on for a few years and haven’t run into a single problem with it.  The ratio to use is 1 tablespoon finely ground chia or flax seeds to 3 tablespoons of water.  They can easily be ground in a coffee grinder, but a blender will work too.  In this recipe, I do use a lesser amount, but that is accounted for by adding extra moisture elsewhere.

Alright….enough of the healthy stuff.  How do they taste?  The answer is DELICIOUS, but that was the tricky part.  I found a balance for the fat, by using 1/2 applesauce and coconut oil instead of the usual butter that found in all of the great cookie doughs.  I did have a slight worry that it wouldn’t taste enough like cookie dough, so I added 1/4 teaspoon of imitation butter flavoring, but this ingredient can easily be left out.  Quick oats (which can be found gluten free) where used for texture and as a binder for the bars and vanilla, dark brown sugar, and semi sweet chocolate chips were added because they are the best parts of cookie dough bars!

We ate these warm out of the oven with whipped cream as a bedtime snack.  They were not able to be pickup up like a true bar, but my son and I were both very pleased with the results and I hope you are too! Warm, gooey, chocolate goodness!

(Almost) Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

  • 2-15 cans pinto or white beans, drained, rinsed really well
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds, finely ground and mixed with 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespooon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon imitation butter flavor
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:  

Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  (about 1 minute) Scrap down the bowl and blend for 15 seconds.  Remove from the processor bowl and place in a medium  sized mixing bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Place in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges look darkened and start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  (can remain in pan longer if you like….it’s just to help the bars set before serving)

 

 
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Posted in Desserts

 

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli with Diavolo Sauce

14 Feb

Looking for a last minute dinner that’s sure to impress?  Try this pasta!  Making homemade ravioli doesn’t have to be difficult.  Of course, I love a true homemade pasta, but if you don’t have the time, patience, or equipment, use wonton wrappers!  This is a fun project for kids to help with too and the filling combinations are endless.  I like to add the spinach because, not only is it colorful, but it’s also an easy and delicious way to get your leafy greens in for the day.

The Diavolo sauce, although the meaning is brother devil, it’s a great way to spice up Valentine’s day!  It’s also really easy because your oven does most of the work for you.  You will able to spend more time with your loved ones, young or old, and enjoy the night.  This recipe is sure to be a keeper!  (even if your date isn’t!)

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli with Diavolo Sauce (for 4)

For the Pasta

  • 32 wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 7 ounces spinach, fresh, cooked until wilted,  cooled and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 2 – 8 ounce packages of grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if desired, but let it simmer first)

Directions:

To make the sauce:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9×13 baking pan, combine grape tomatoes, bell pepper pieces and olive oil.  Stir to coat the vegetables.  Season with garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool to the touch.  Place the vegetables in the food processor or blender.  Puree until sauce is desired texture.  (I usually do about 5 seconds because I like mine with a little texture).  In a medium sauce pan using high heat, reduce 1 cup of red wine in half.  Add tomato mixture and reduce heat to medium low.  Add red pepper flakes and cook until heated through.  Let simmer until pasta is ready.

To make the pasta:  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine once cup ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 1 egg, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine egg and 1/2 cup water.  whisk until combined.  Set aside.  Bring salted water to boil in pasta pot.  Place one wonton wrapper cutting board and place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper.  Using a pastry brush, brush the edges with egg wash.  Place another wrapper over the top and press firmly to seal.  Repeat as many times as needed.

Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat slightly.  Place the filled ravioli, one at a time, into the boiling water.  Do not over crowd the pot and cook in batches if needed.  The ravioli will initially sink to the bottom of the pot.  When it comes to the surface and the pasta appears to pucker around the filling and become translucent, it is done.  (about 3 minutes)

Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon, top with warm pasta sauce and serve.

 

 
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Posted in Pasta

 

Citrus & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

18 Dec

Most of  you are now planning your menus for holiday dinners.  Some of you are looking to stick with the traditional recipes and other are looking to try something new.  How about trying this very simple and delicious Citrus & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash?  Its the perfect mix of old and new.  To make this dish you can either cube your own squash left from fall harvest or you can go the time saving route and use the fully prepped and diced butternut squash in the coolers of your produce section.  It is often store next to the bagged salads or pre-chopped onions, carrots, or pepper mixes.

Roasting the squash in the oven is a great way to get kids to eat it too because it helps to bring out the natural sugars and gives the squash a sweeter taste than if you had boiled or steamed it.  Plus, there not all the work of having to clean more than one pot of pan.  That’s my idea of a great holiday recipe!

Citrus & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and 1-2 inch cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, fresh
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag.  Seal the bag and gently toss it until all the squash is evenly coated.  Pour the mixture out onto a rimmed cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes of until the squash is a dark golden brown and cooked through.  Turn the squash over halfway through the baking.

 
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Au Gratin Sweet Potatoes

27 Nov

Are you still busy looking for side dish recipes for dinner tomorrow?  Here is a delicious recipe for Au Gratin Sweet Potatoes.  No, they are not the marshmallow classic that will be served at many thanksgiving tables, but the sweet delicious sweet potato still shines through in this rich, creamy sauce seasoned with garlic, nutmeg and is accented by the nutty flavor of golden brown Parmesan cheese.  I know my family was skeptical the first time that I suggested the switch, but these potatoes moved very quickly into our list of Thanksgiving standards and now hold a very large spot in the hearts and stomachs of my friends and family!

 

 

 

 

Au Gratin Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes or yams

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In oven proof dish, whisk together cream, garlic powder, nutmeg, and salt.  Layer potatoes in cream using a shingle pattern.  Top with Parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft and cooked through.  Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 6

 
 

Caramelized Onion & Fig Jam

12 Oct

The richness of the dried mission figs and the savory sweetness of the caramelized onions pairs together to make a delicious jam that is perfect for sharing on a chilly fall night.  This Caramelized Onion & Fig Jam make the perfect addition to your favorite cheese tray or goes great by itself with a bottle of wine.  My favorite way to serve this jam is on toasted baguette slices, but it’s even more divine when you sprinkle the sliced baguette with blue cheese crumbles and place them under the broiler for a few minutes or just until the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden brown.  Let the pieces cool and then top each slice with jam.  You can use it to serve as a relish with oven roasted chicken or pork loin for Sunday dinner.  This recipe is sure to become a staple in your fall refrigerator.  Enjoy!

 

Caramelized Onion & Fig Jam

  • 10 ounces mission figs, dried, halved
  • 1 large onion, 1/2 inch diced (about 2.5 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups liquid (I used red wine, but apple cider or chicken stock would work great too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

 Directions:

Combine onions and olive oil in a medium sauce with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium/low heat until the onions are translucent and have started to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes.  Add wine to deglaze the pan, being sure to scrap any brown bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Add figs and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing the figs against the side of the pan with a wood spoon to break them up as needed.  Stir in granulated sugar and simmer for an additional 20 minutes, breaking down the figs even more.  If jam gets too thick, add more liquid as needed until your desired “jam” consistency is reached.

 

Grilled Spring Onions

17 Aug

What a beautiful Saturday morning!  Today I am off to the local farmers market in search of my produce for the week……including one item in particular.  Green Onions.  I first had them prepared this way when I was in Barcelona a few years ago.  They were so simple and so delicious!  As the outsides slowly blacken over the the coals, they loose the onion bitterness and the insides become wonderfully tender and sweet.  The perfect accompaniment to a thick, juicy, peppery steak.  (Can you guess what I am having for dinner tonight?)

Grilled Spring Onions

  • Large Green Onions
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt

Directions:

Preheat charcoal grill to medium heat.  Brush the onions with olive oil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and place on grill.  Grill each side for 5 minutes, or until the outsides are blackened and the onions feel tender.  Removed from the grill and enjoy!

 

 
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Lemon Greek Potato Salad

26 Jun

July 4th is a little over a week away and it is a time to celebrate our nation’s freedoms and spend time with friends and family.  We often spend the day at one of the area lakes, barbecuing in our backyards, or enjoying one of the beautiful city or state parks.

This year I am taking a few extra days off to spend the week at our family cabin.  Over the 4th, there will be an abundance of family and friends and I am very excited to serve a few of my favorite recipes to them!  When we have a large group, we try to keep the meals simple, because it’s tricky having all of those different palates to please!  We usually serve 2 large meals each day, breakfast and dinner, with serve-it-yourself meals for those that get hungry in between.  Those mini meals consist of sandwiches or grilled sausages, vegetable and fruit platters and a good hearty salad.  It seems easy enough, right?   Well, not quite…..Potato salad, a salad commonly found on picnic tables across America, can come in many different forms and everyone has their own opinion as to how it should be prepared.  The debates can be endless.  With or without mustard, with or without eggs, and with or without celery and onion. Everyone has a favorite ingredient they feel is necessary to make this summer side dish complete. Then, add in the people who really just wanted a good pasta salad instead! Well, I may have come up with a solution. My Lemony Greek Potato Salad is the perfect combination of both!  For the pasta lovers, it contains kalamata olives, juicy grape tomato halves, and a smooth and creamy lemon sauce.  For the potato lovers, tender new boiled tender boiled baby red potatoes. All of this is gently tossed together with feta cheese crumbles and fresh herbs. Both pasta lovers and potato lovers can finally come together and see eye to eye with this very flavorful combination dish! Plus, this salad will keep great in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, so it can keep the day time snackers happy all weekend long!

Lemon Greek Potato Salad

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use one made with olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 large lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tablespoon oregano leaves, fresh chopped
  • 3 tablespoons basil leaves, fresh chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 8 new red potatoes, about 2 inches in diameter, washed
  • 1 cup grape tomato halves
  • 12 kalamata olives, pitted and cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles

Directions:

In a medium pot, cover potatoes in water, bring to boil over medium high heat and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove the potatoes from the water and place in refrigerator to until chilled.  Cut potatoes into 8 pieces.  (in half and then into quarters to for small wedges)  Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, oregano leaves, basil leaves, kosher salt and pepper.  (add more lemon if desired)

Gently fold in potatoes, grape tomatoes, olive slices , and feta cheese crumbles.  Chill until ready to serve.

Serves 6

 
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